Felicity Pettay, representing her school in the upcoming River Days pageant as Miss Notre Dame, is using her platform to share encouragement and assistance those in need while the community, and much of the world, face the realities of COVID-19.
“My platform is HardSHIPS Won’t Make You Sink: Overcoming Adversity with Strength,” Pettay said. “As a child, my siblings and I faced hardships that many children in our area currently face. That experience provided me life lessons that have shaped me into the person I am today.”
For that reason, it is Pettay’s mission to let others know they are not alone, no matter what the obstacle they are facing. Seeking help, guidance, and utilizing valuable resources can help turn a struggle story into a success story, just like Pettays.
“Through my platform, I want to be able to help those who are struggling with personal hardships of their own,” Pettay said. “When the boat of life gets holes, patch them. When the patches wear down, grab a life jacket. When the boat starts to sink, swim. I want them to know that sinking is not an option and though life may be tough, we can be tougher. My goal is to educate others so they can better prepare for adverse situations when they arise.”
Pettay, a varsity cheerleader and tennis player, member of Key Club, and Ohio Model United Nations at Notre Dame has started making her own masks that are being donated to at-risk populations. She said seeing an instructional video her grandmother sent her on making your own masks inspired her to use her talents to help those around her.
Pettay said it takes her approximately 20 minutes to make each mask and crafts them from 100% cotton and ¼ inch elastic. Pettay stressed the fact that these masks do not take place of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended protective equipment but can be used in substitution of scarves and bandanas, which were listed as last resort equipment by the CDC.
“They have not been tested in preventing transmission of the virus and people should follow all guidelines from medical professionals and their government agencies,” noted Pettay.
Regarding the Coronavirus, Pettay stated she takes it very seriously and wanted to do what she could to prevent potential spreading of the virus.
“It is a serious worldwide pandemic and a health emergency. With the shortage in masks and necessary equipment, I want to do my part to help prevent people from being exposed to the virus in addition to following the CDC and Governor DeWine’s recommendations and mandates,” said Pettay. “The best thing we can do as a community is stay home and self-quarantine as recommended.
Pettay plans to distribute her homemade masks to Southern Ohio Medical Center, King’s Daughters, and Hillview for the time being. She has, however, received many additional requests from individuals at Adena Health Care in Chillicothe, staff from local offices, local home health care facilities, and personal requests from individuals.
“I am working hard at supplying as many people as I can,” said Pettay.
Pettay’s pageant mom, Corey Bentley, stated she was extremely proud of her and that is very much in Felicity’s nature to help others.
“Her family, friends, and I are very proud of her. She saw a need in our community and came up with this idea with the help of her grandmother,” said Bentley. “Upon being chosen to represent her school as a River Days contestant, Felicity was required to submit a platform and an idea for a community event. Her platform was already focused on helping others and remaining strong through difficult situations before this pandemic. I think it was no coincidence that she was led to choose this platform. I can think of no better time for her to help prove that hardships won’t last forever and through strength and perseverance, our community will overcome this.”
Bentley said that while she herself has no sewing talents, she has assisted with the project by providing monetary donations for materials and making suggestions on who could most benefit from mask donations.
From the project, Bentley said she hopes Pettay and others remember the importance of working together and supporting one another.
“I think we all need a reminder that we are in this together. There are so much fear and anxiety related to the uncertainty of what is to come. Felicity, as a high school student, was able to take a skill she acquired and turn it into something positive that could potentially help so many people in our area,” said Bentley. “I have noticed many others doing the same. I hope people can strive to see the good and when they are given an opportunity to make a difference, do it.”
Like Pettay, Bentley urged others to take safety recommendations seriously.
“Please listen to all recommendations presented by our government officials and the CDC. These masks are such a good idea and are great to use as a last resort but unfortunately are untested with no proof that they prevent the spread.”
Bentley also added that Miss Notre Dame and the 11 other River Days contestants are always committed to bettering the community and being positive role models.
“I encourage our community to support these girls in all of their future endeavors,” said Bentley.
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